Direct Cremations: The new “Paupers Funeral” of choice

by Peter Erceg | Owner & Founder eziFunerals

Once upon a time, many people saved their last pennies to avoid the shame of the “pauper’s funeral”. Today, the simplest and cheapest “body-disposal” option is becoming a “fashionable” choice.

Direct cremations, as they are known by the funeral industry, were once widely seen as a form of “pauper’s funeral,” with no ceremony or mourners at the time of cremation.

Much of the marketing and selling of direct crema­tions focuses on cost only. One Australian company, Bare, a digital deathcare disruptor seized on the opportunity during Covid to sell ‘cheap’ direct cremations and has raised over $15 million from investors to target this new consumer market. Previously known as Bare Cremation, the company’s earlier backers include OIF Ventures, Athletic Ventures, Who Gives A Crap founder Simon Griffiths and former NBA basketballer Andrew Bogut.

However, a recent report commissioned by the Scottish Government found that although direct cremation is the cheapest way of disposing of a dead person, consumers had mixed views about the cost saving options ‘direct cremations’ provided.

On the one hand, one participant who had arranged a direct cremation for their mother was happy with this, as they were sure it was what she wanted. Others thought that they may have opted for it, had they known it was available.

However, there was evidence that direct cremation may not be appropriate for everyone. One recipient who had arranged a direct cremation felt, with hindsight, that having such a stripped back service had not fully met their needs.

“[Since his death] I don’t think I really stopped to think […] it was a case of just do it […] it’s afterwards you come down and you go ‘hang on a minute, I don’t feel right’ […] I hadn’t had closure, so there was a bit of me that said, whilst I did what I did and I was happy enough with that, there was clearly a little something because I’ve been much more settled since [attending a funeral service for somebody who died in a similar situation].” 55+, Dundee

For certain participants, there was some uneasiness expressed about the idea of saving money on a funeral and a feeling that it was too important to ‘cut corners’. One participant (who was not aware of the option at the time), felt so strongly that this option would not have been good enough that she would rather have got into debt than choose it.

“I wanted my daughter to have a proper funeral and to me that’s not a proper funeral […] I wouldn’t have done it, even if I took myself in debt, I wouldn’t have done it. […]” 55+, Ayrshire

Peter Erceg, Owner and Founder of funeral planning website, eziFunerals, says “from our experience, more people who opt for direct cremation could easily afford a traditional funeral, but they choose not to”.

Whatever the reason for choosing direct cremation, eziFunerals urges consumers to think twice, be cautious about the choice of funeral director and ask lots of questions before selecting this option.

“If you want the body to be treated with respect, be very careful. Some funeral directors are excellent but there are some dreadful ones, too. This is an unregulated industry.”

About eziFunerals

eziFunerals helps consumers and independent funeral homes connect and collaborate anywhere, anytime. We are an Australian-owned and operated company and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company.

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